Yesterday, Today, Thirteen Years Ago

On a perfect late summer afternoon the boys raced around the playground. My friend and I relaxed on the grass a short distance away. I watched my two kids lazily, and gossiped with my pal. Our friends who are brand new parents strolled over with their son and joined us. It was a lovely time even if I did have to get up every few minutes in order to force my children to apologize to whomever it was that they just hit.

A small firetruck sped down the street, sirens wailing, causing the kids to stop what they were doing and watch. It turned the corner down the long side of the park and pulled next to the basketball court. An ambulance followed along with another small firetruck. In the next few minutes six police cars joined them. By then our kids had crowded around us and started asking questions.

My friend noticed a person performing chest compressions on someone before the first rescue vehicle reached them. The teens playing basketball crowed around. Paramedics took over. But after many minutes they stopped. Put the person receiving the compressions on a gurney and into the ambulance. The doors closed. The ambulance sat. And sat. And sat. Eventually the teenagers wandered away and got back to their game. The cops milled around. No one seemed to be in the ambulance with the person.

The younger kids didn’t understand, but the pair of five year old boys in our group had so many questions. We explained how all the rescue personnel were there to help someone who had an accident. We did not explain that it was clear the person had died.

Forty-five minutes earlier the kids were playing on the playground. I was lounging on the ground, chatting with good friends. A person was walking around the perimeter of the park. And then that person wasn’t walking anymore. We were in a park with forty or so other humans, most of whom we will never know. We were all there together for a moment, hearts beating, living life, people coming and going. And then one of us was gone while the rest of us watched awkwardly from a distance.

The boys ran off and started to play again, our chitchat resumed although our eyes were on the ambulance. We left the park, went home, cooked dinner, told our spouses about it, checked local news sources to see if it was mentioned, but mostly got on with our lives.

But the people who loved the person in the park? September 10, 2014 will be a day they never forget. Their lives changed yesterday. I thought about those people last night. And somehow the thought of them got tied up in the thoughts about today.

Thirteen years later and it would be fair to say that I haven’t come to terms with September 11th. Every anniversary I feel closer and further away from what happened. I feel angrier. More lost.

When the subway I was riding on that day pulled into the Fulton Street station both planes had already hit the towers. But the majority of the people who would die there were still alive. They were alive as the subway left Fulton Street and made the short trip to the World Trade Center stop. They were alive when we arrived in the Village at the West 4th Street station. They were alive as I climbed the stairs from underground on 86th Street on the Upper West Side. They were alive when I took money out of the ATM and bought a pack of Camel Lights. They were alive while I rushed into the tiny studio apartment that served as an office. As I desperately tried to reach my boss. As I turned on the tiny TV. As I tried to comprehend that a land line in New York City did not have a dial tone. And then suddenly they were dead.

It has been thirteen years and I still don’t understand. I was so close to what happened geographically. And I was unscathed.

I was so close geographically, but I lost neither my life, nor the life of a loved one. Sometimes location means nothing. Grief doesn’t permeate my life every single day the way it does for those who lost family that day. Most of the time I can easily block out the memories. Today I can’t. The morning thirteen years ago replays over and over in my mind as I walk through life pretending that all is well.

But isn’t that how most Americans experience September 11th? Loss can take your breath away even when you don’t know the person in the park or the people on the planes, in the towers, or the government building.

I haven’t come to terms with what happened that day. But it sure as hell has shown me what poison hate and extremism are. Directed at us or by us.

photo (46)

Sometime between ’99 and ’01. A boozy night on our roof with K and a disposable camera.

Twelve Years Later Learning To Let Go

Three years ago I wrote about my September 11th. This anniversary is still fraught for me. I am still angry and confused and bereft. At 7am this morning I snapped on the radio in our bathroom just as the headlines were beginning. The lead story was the one year anniversary of the Benghazi attacks with no mention of the attacks in 2001 that served as inspiration. In fact, September 11th, 2001 was the 5th or 6th story of the day. I stood in the shower and wept, filled with rage that the twelfth anniversary of the attacks didn’t even make the equivalent of the front page of Morning Edition. My in-laws are visiting and brought home the New York Times. The attacks didn’t make it to the actual front page either.

If I’m honest my own experience of the day is different than it used to be. For the last several days I haven’t been filled with dread, the day has not been playing on a loop in my mind non-stop like it used to as a buildup to the anniversary. I am so far from the 24 year old girl who walked through September 11th that I can barely recognize her.

Time relentlessly and heartlessly marches on. One of the central events of my life is becoming a national footnote. Should it? Does it make more sense to concentrate on the tragedy in Benghazi last year? Or the crisis with Syria? Or the struggling economy? What should we be remembering on September 11th?

Maybe it is time for me to let go of the anger and fear that define this day for me. I had a front seat to an attack on our nation. Maybe it is time to feel proud that my beliefs in America were not shaken.

I still believe we are a great nation some days and we have the potential to be much greater. I believe that the Constitution is an extraordinary and beautiful and sophisticated document that has matured alongside the nation. I believe in freedom and self determination and representative democracy (or a constitutional republic if you are getting all technical). I believe that the founding fathers would be outraged to learn that the American Government engaged in torture because then ends do not justify the means. We are better than than! We must be better than that! I believe that freedom comes at a cost, that sometimes we will be attacked in terrible ways, but our response must never be internment camps or racial profiling or attacks on religions that scare us because we cannot see through our ignorance and fear to the difference between extremists and god fearing people who are different from us.

Over the last twelve years I have been terribly disappointed in America. Some of the reactions of hatred and vengeance have made me wonder if Osama bin Laden did win that day, if he did show that we are less than we claim to be. But I still have hope. I hope that we can do better as a country and show the world that freedom and equality and compassion are the right way to live.

We have a long way to go at home-with rights for minorities, the LGBT community, pay equality for women. We need to care for our own by making health insurance available, by raising the minimum wage, by making sure that the disenfranchised are able to participate in our political system by voting.

In this one area of my life I choose to be an optimist. I believe America has been great, occasionally still is great, and will be great. After living through September 11th in 2001 I could have let the grief make me small. But guess what terrorists? Fuck you. You lose. Because I believe in my country. And you know what? So many of the New Yorkers I know who also lived through that day do as well. And as an added bonus we are smart enough to understand that Muslim does not equal terrorist. We will not fear someone based on the color of their skin. And we will try to convince our fellow countrymen that freedom is the goal. That indulging our fear equals defeat.

So fuck you. Fuck. You. You haven’t defeated me and millions of people like me.

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And friends, remember to vote. That is where we can make a difference.

morning on the porch

None of us knows what is going to happen tomorrow or next week or next year. The best we can do is love what we have now. This morning I loved my three guys in this unseasonably hot weather as we took a couple of minutes to spend together before embarking on our day.

voltron

We were safe because Voltron was there to protect us.

World Breastfeeding Week: What Support?

In conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week three bloggers have launched I Support You, an online initiative to destigmatize how any mother chooses to feed her child. The mission statement is one of acceptance and kindness and it cuts through the cruelty and bullshit of the “Mommy Wars”. I fully support a woman’s right to choose how to feed her child. So why does this initiative make me uneasy? Yes, we should support a woman’s right to choose. But why are we not addressing that so many women want to breastfeed yet are unable to do it? Why aren’t we outraged on their behalf? Why isn’t more being done to help women nurse successfully? We should be able to explore these questions without alienating women who formula fed.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about breastfeeding over the last several months. Hell, I wrote a 20 page paper titled “The Human Right to Food Applied to the Problem of United States Breastfeeding Rates”. In addition, the reality that my own breastfeeding days are nearing their end is weighing heavily on me. I plan on weaning C shortly after his second birthday at the end of the month. It is the right choice for our family.

During the first several months I nursed T I struggled through nipple pain, a wicked case of thrush, and the removal of a precancerous lesion that abutted my areola. I was shocked by how hard nursing was. The first few months were brutal, but after we figured it out the year plus that followed was magical. As much as I reveled in nursing T, as much as I grew to love it I also felt incredibly angry. I was able to make nursing work because I am privileged enough to choose to be a SAHM. I was lucky enough to have a Mom who was able to buy me a medical grade pump I couldn’t afford on my own. I saw multiple lactation consultants. My doctor and T’s pediatrician were cheerleaders on the breastfeeding front. Z supported me every step of the way. All that fantastic support, which again I received because of my socio-economic position, all that support was enough to get me through the terrible times-the lactation consultant who told me it wouldn’t hurt if I was doing it right, the feeling like glass was tearing through my nipples when the thrush set in, the constant worry that my guy wasn’t gaining weight fast enough.

But what about women who don’t receive that kind of support? Women who are suffering from low supply, women who need to go back to work immediately, women that don’t receive information about the benefits of breastfeeding. Shortly after giving birth to T I had two friends attend two different childbirth sessions at Women and Infants, an excellent hospital for labor and delivery. In both classes the participants were told breast is best without being given any information on how to successfully nurse.

Guess what? Breastfeeding isn’t intuitive. You don’t just stick a baby onto your boob and have everything work out. Guess what else? Sometimes it does hurt when you are doing it right. Some ladies have super sensitive nipples. Some ladies don’t. Guess what else? Because breastfeeding rates are so low in this country there isn’t a built in support system of Mothers and Grandmothers and friends who have an intimate understanding of how breastfeeding works and who can help new Moms troubleshoot. Guess what else? Sometimes two lactation consultants in the same hospital will give you conflicting information and leave you more confused than before you talked to them. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.

My OB told me that in countries where there is no access to formula the rates of Mothers with low milk supply are very low. In developed countries the rates of low milk supply are much higher (I haven’t researched this myself, am planning to in conjunction with a project this fall and will definitely write about what I find out). His analysis is that women are forced to figure out nursing when there is no other alternative. I am not saying that women who suffer from low supply in this country are crying wolf. Not at all. It has to be a terrifying thing to go through. If my infant was losing weight you better bet I would feel him formula immediately. I feel frustrated on the behalf of women who have supply issues. Why aren’t they getting effective help? Currently there are 70 federally funded studies on erectile dysfunction and 10 on breastfeeding dysfunction. To anyone who says breastfeeding is a naturally occurring bodily function I’d remind them that boners are naturally occurring as well. And yet, viagra and cialis are not only covered by health insurance, they are huge money makers. Nature clearly isn’t working for a lot of guys.

Over the last month or so another idea has been bouncing around my head. The United States Government through the CDC recommends exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months. After delivering that message the government sets up new Mothers to fail. How are you supposed to exclusively breastfeed if you do not have adequate maternity leave? If you are working a minimum wage job how are you supposed to afford a breast pump? How are you supposed to express milk if your boss won’t give you time on the clock and a clean and safe place to do it?

The responsibility to nurse is placed on the shoulders of women. They are told it is natural, they just need to try harder, it is their failure if they can’t figure it out. Well, bullshit. Pardon me for being a hysterical feminist, but if that doesn’t smack of misogyny I don’t know what does. It’s like telling a bunch of sixth graders that they need to pass a math test in order to go to 7th grade, yet not teaching them what is on the exam.

I wholeheartedly agree that we should support choices each Mother makes about how to feed their baby. But forcing the message down women’s throats that breast is best while not being able to follow through with support is an issue that is not talked about. It seems breastfeeding is a vocal issue for two groups, those who only see boobs as a sexual objects, who insist women nursing in public are offensive or by those who expect women to achieve the impossible with no help and who shame those who fail.

During World Breastfeeding Week I propose we advocate for change:

  • If the government advises babies should be exclusively breastfeed for 6 months than women should receive paid maternity leave for that period.
  • The CDC estimates that 2.2 billion dollars a year would be saved on medical costs if higher breastfeeding rates were achieved. The numbers are not going to increase through education alone-extensive research needs to be conducted concerning breastfeeding failure. At least as much research that is devoted to erectile disfunction.
  • The United States committed to following The International Code of Marketing of Breastfeeding Substitutes in the early 90s, yet nothing has been done to enforce The Code. It is time to halt predatory marketing campaigns by formula companies.

And listen, us Moms out there aren’t always helping. I’ve seen comments online by breastfeeding Moms who self righteously proclaim if they were unable to nurse they would secure expressed milk. The Human Milk Bank Association of North America, a nonprofit, charges between $3 to $5. An ounce. Give me a fucking break self righteous breastfeeding Moms. Then there are comments by Mothers who were unable to nurse-they are hell-bent on proving that breastfeeding does not provide any advantage to newborns. It enrages me that Moms who choose to formula feed, or who are unable to nurse are made to feel less because of it. But it also enrages me that they would try to undermine the science behind the benefits of breastfeeding.  Advocating for breastfeeding should not to be synonymous with denigrating choices made by formula feeders. Defending formula feeding should not be synonymous with trying to disprove the upsides of nursing. We are all better than that nonsense.

hugging boys

T was nursed until he was 20 months. I was entering the second trimester of pregnancy and my milk dried up. Neither of us were ready to stop, honestly I still feel terribly guilty about letting him down. C will be 2 on August 31st. He took to nursing immediately and we are still going strong. I might feel like the I Support You campaign misses out on the systemic lack of support in this country, but the truth is, from the bottom of my heart, I do support you and whatever choice you and your family make to feed your child.

I Love New York

Is the feeling of home, of belonging important to you? I spent my childhood chasing that feeling. I romanticized my parent’s upbringings-one in a city, one in a coal mining town, neither moved until they were at least in college, surrounded by extended family and friends they knew their whole lives. My high school was my 8th school, and the amount of travel provided me with some pretty extraordinary experiences, but I guess the grass is always greener. I wanted to be more than the new girl, I wanted to be known.

When I first traveled to New York City I was as excited as every other tourist. I was 17 and the unusual circumstances surrounding my upbringing meant that I’d been to Hong Kong, Rome, Sydney, Australia, lived in Wellington, New Zealand before making it to the Big Apple. Something extraordinary happened during the visit (and I mean more extraordinary than getting the flu during the first act of Tommy and spending an hour and a half barfing in the theater bathroom). I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be, it felt like home. New York City became the center of my universe and getting there was the only option.

During the decade I lived there it felt right, it felt permanent. Every time we left the city I’d be accompanied by melancholy, a weight on my chest until we got back and I was able to take a full breath again. When Z and I got married it was with the understanding that I wanted to stay in the city for the rest of my life, I wanted to raise any possible kids there, I wanted to be the old lady with the push cart waddling around. Hell, I already had the push cart. That thing rocked for trips to the grocery store.

After September 11th of 2001 I was even more resolved to stay forever. No one was going to scare me away from my home. But over the next few years Z became miserable in the city. It started suffocating him, he wanted to escape. Our marriage was a mess, he didn’t want that anymore either. He got into RISD for grad school and I was faced with a decision. Leave the city that was my home or save my marriage. New York was my security blanket, my marriage was awful, and I didn’t know if it was even possible to save it. I made the right choice. I became a different person, one who doesn’t need a specific place to be happy. But I miss New York every day.

I wanted to write about our anniversary, but on September 11th it’s hard to wrap my brain around anything but that day. So the post about Z and me can wait. Z is the great love of my life. But New York is a close second. If we ever hit the lottery (unlikely being we don’t play the lottery) the first thing I’ll do is buy an apartment there. If I have to choose, I choose Z. It sure would be awesome not to have to choose at all, though.

I still don’t know how to feel on this day. Angry. Helpless. Stupid. Insignificant. Lucky. The one emotion that makes sense is my love for the city. It’s a great place, no…it’s the best place. It owns a pretty big chunk of my heart.

This must have been the spring of ’99 or 2000. Just a couple of kids getting drunk on the roof of their apartment with a friend. No worries in the world. 

Dear America, Don’t Even Bother to Try-Love, the Internet

***Disclaimer: This post does not address the flaws in the Invisible Children’s approach to capturing Kony, nor does it touch on the problems in Africa. Those problems are overwhelming and important and deserve to be discussed, but they aren’t what I’m writing about today. Rather, this is about the American reaction to the video. So yes, yes, this is about ‘first world problems’–a phrase I despise. We live in the first world and therefore address the problems within it. Should we not do that? Should we only contemplate third world problems? Ones we are under qualified to understand? Because tackling third world problems really hadn’t gone so well for Invisible Children. What is so wrong with considering the problems we face? Whew, a tangent before I even begin…

***


In the wake of the KONY 2012 controversy I’ve been thinking a lot about the flack we get for trying. The hateful response to the video and movement has really taken my breath away. If I were the guy who made it I’d have a public breakdown as well. Hell, a few years ago I had a pretty awesome breakdown without being eviscerated by the internet. 


And it isn’t just the KONY folks, it’s fucking anyone who tries anything. I’ve been coveting a pair of sparkly TOMS. I think they’re adorable and I dig that they give a pair away for every pair sold. I’ve had conversations with no less than 5 friends who find TOMS mission worthy of an eye roll. Everything from “How pretentious is it that they PLACE the shoe on the foot of kids?” to “Do these kids really need shoes? What about food?” to “Why aren’t they helping American kids?” Well, TOMS chose a mission. They didn’t decide to feed kids, they decided to put shoes on their feet. And I think that is fucking awesome. It is a hell of a lot more than I’m doing, and more than any of my friends are doing either.


It’s like if anyone tries to do anything positive the only thing other people see is the mistakes-and how they personally would do the positive thing so much better. Well, if that is true why is no one getting off their asses? I was reading a stream of replies to a KONY article by activists, actual fellow activist, people who do the same damn thing for a living, and the contempt, vitriol, and venom was so over the top and devoid of any self-awareness. The only conclusion I could reach was those commenters were being eaten alive by jealousy at the success of the KONY campaign. And the joy and relief they felt as the campaign and the organizers came under scrutiny and things started to fall apart, the schadenfreude was sickening to me. Call me naive, but I’d expect people who dedicate their lives to helping others to have a shred of compassion. 


What is wrong with us? Have we become so small? So petty? I’m not saying the KONY folks had it right. I don’t know enough about the wars in Uganda to have an intelligent opinion. But my take away from the video was the group’s first priority was raising awareness. And from that lens the movement has been a huge success. 


The KONY thing had me thinking about the impulse we seem to have to tear down anything that goes well. The other day I was telling Z that before we began I really was freaking out about potty training T. Z’s mom helped potty train her eldest granddaughter and I had a fantasy about her coming up to help do it with T. I just didn’t think I could do it myself, I thought I’d pressure him too much or not enough or somehow find a way to fuck it up. But it’s been a few weeks and it’s been going really well. It is by no means perfect, there are accidents and frustrations. But I’m doing it. I’m actually doing it. I’m potty training this kid. And it feels good. He suggested I write about it and I told him that would be way too braggy. 


Now, you, my kind and tiny readership, would not be mean to me about being braggy. I know you all personally for the most part. We’re actually friends. And let me take a sec to thank you again for indulging me by reading this. I really do appreciate it. But if a blogger with a large readership were to write about successful potty training there would be comments about how it isn’t that hard, there’s no reason to be self-satisfied, and don’t forget there is a bunch of stuff that the writer is getting wrong in the parenting department. The comments in the well read blogs seem so focused on taking anyone with some success down a notch. 


It is so much easier for me to write about my fuck ups than my triumphs. Yes, the anxiety disorder has something to do with it. But there is a larger cultural shunning of celebrating success. If we don’t feel comfortable talking about what we do right how are we going to encourage our kids to feel good about themselves? 


I’ve already had T parrot some alarming things to me. He says, “I’m so sorry, Mommy” about things he doesn’t need to be sorry for. He gets that (‘so’ included) from me. I’ll apologize to you for the sky being blue if you give me the chance. I don’t want him to grow up apologizing for existing. When someone leaves the house he’s started to say, “Be safe!” Another thing I compulsively say. Am I instilling fear in a two year old? I don’t want him to learn my neuroses. This includes not be able to celebrate his successes. Encouraging him is a big part of it, but I also need to learn to embrace my own accomplishments. Which should be easier because thankfully my accomplishments are not big enough for the internet to notice.


So yeah, potty training is going well. I’m proud of myself. Also, we should be nicer to each other. Not less constructively critical, mind you. We can and should disagree, but let’s be fucking civil. And kind. The end. 

OK, that was a little heavy. So how about some levity…Isn’t he a little young to give me the stink eye?
 He’s still anti-clothing. I got his underwear and pants on him this morning, but when I tried to get the shirt on he freaked and wept until I let him take the pants off. Not 20 minutes later he said, “Mommy! I’m cold!” Me, “Dude, if you’d wear some clothing you wouldn’t be cold.” Yeah, he didn’t wear a stitch of clothing all day.
 Last weekend we made the switch to iPhones. I’ve fallen deeply in love with Instagram. 

Because you can take pictures like this, which are adorable to begin with.


And make them into this. Is it creepy that I’m basically photoshopping my kid?

Imaging Future Hard Conversations

T won’t be 21 months old for a few more weeks; we are years out from having conversations about current events and ideological issues.  But as I’ve been processing the death of Osama bin Laden and the subsequent reaction around the world I can’t help but think about how I want to talk to my son about all of it.  I want to be as honest with him as possible about what happens in this world.  And I want to talk to him when I see our fellow citizens engaging in activity that is confusing.  I also want to be honest with him about my own flawed reasoning and reactions based on my personal experiences.  If he were older I’d tell him this: 
September 11, 2001 is obviously a loaded day for all Americans and I am no exception.  I believe that bin Laden was an evil man, that we were at war with him, and that it was right to kill him.  I believe that the world is a better place without him.  But I can’t help but chafe at the glee, the celebration that many Americans delighted in.  We go to bed early so we didn’t hear the news Sunday night.  Part of my morning ritual is listening to Morning Edition in the bathroom, so yesterday I learned what happened while I showered.  One of the first clips I heard was of people celebrating at Ground Zero late Sunday night.  And it nauseated me.  Granted, a lot about Ground Zero nauseated me when I lived in NYC.  I couldn’t help but hate the tourists who had their pictures taken in front of the gaping hole in the ground with huge smiles on their faces.  It felt like the photos were just checks off of a list of hot stops they got to show their friends they visited.  There was little solemnity or respect for the dead.  With the vendors selling their gaudy Twin Towers memorabilia and the tourists grateful at the lucky coincidence that Century 21 is located just across the street (talking about killing two birds with one stone!) I avoided the area as much as possible.  And yes, I know my condemnation of those tourists isn’t fair or reasonable.  It’s ugly and full of misdirected rage.  Obviously I haven’t come to terms with my anger and upset and horror surrounding that day.   
When I’d walk by the site I’d try to keep my mind blank so I wouldn’t cry, but I was unable to stop playing scenes from  my brief history in the area in my head.  I’d think about hanging out with my dad in the WTC Marriot when he was in town, or the night Z and I took him to Windows on the World.  I’d remember the goofy socks I’d bought Kevin for Christmas one year at the GAP in the basement mall, or how I’d time myself as I tore through the lobbies cutting through the center to my boss’s apartment to deliver her mail on my way home from work when she was on maternity leave.  I remembered being so excited when we found the bridesmaids dresses for my wedding on sale at the Tahari in the World Financial Center.  Or how my mom bought me some clothes at the Brooks Brothers across the street when I stared temping after I graduated from college.  And then I can’t help but remember how that Brooks Brothers was used as a temporary morgue in the days after the attack.  It took about two years for me to be able to walk in there again so I could buy Z the perfect present.  I’d think about those places and wonder where the people who worked in them were, which of them died.  I’d think about how most of the locations don’t exist anymore and how hard that was for my brain to process.  Mostly I’d think about how stupid I had been before the attack, how unsuspecting and naïve and sure that nothing like it could ever happen.
So clearly my opinions are tainted by my experience.  But I don’t think that cheering was the right call.  I was depressed by a lot of what I read on social networking sites.  Quoting Team America?  I loved that movie, can’t get the song “America, Fuck Yeah!” out of my head years after seeing it.  But, frankly it embarrasses me to see the irony of the song disregarded.  I wonder what the South Park guys think of their work being co-opted by the very flag wavers that they were mocking.  Celebrating the might and power of the USA when it took nearly a decade to find this guy?  That seems like a joke to me.  Especially because he wasn’t striking at our military prowess that day, he was striking at our core beliefs.  He wanted to make us hypocrites.  He wanted us to ignore our values as Americans and torture terrorists to find answers, he wanted us to selectively disregard Habeas Corpus, he wanted our citizens to distrust and persecute fellow Americans who were Muslims, he wanted to prove to the world that our ideals can’t hold up against attack.   He wanted to make fools out of us, to show we weren’t really what we professed to be.    
The results of his attack have been mixed and I don’t really feel qualified to address them intelligently, but still I am proud to be an American.   And I want to celebrate the parts of this country that are great.  I’d be proud if we would celebrate our joy at being citizens of a country that is built upon one of the most extraordinary documents ever written, the Constitution.   I understand the desire to feel unity, especially when so much of the political rhetoric is so fractured.  But there is nothing connected to September 11th that makes me feel like celebrating, even the death of bin Laden.  I feel a huge sense of relief at his death, but I do not feel like whooping and cheering.  Again, I’m glad he is gone.  I think it was right to kill him.  I even think it was a victory of sorts, but I also think it is a sober occasion.  One in which we should honor those who died and remember the terrible things that happened that day and feel grateful to the amazing men and women who are working to protect us overseas every day.    
So yes, I’d tell T something like this, I’d tell him what I felt.  And then I’d ask what he thought. 
So how about some pleasant pictures to lighten the mood?  We put in 3 fruit trees last summer and I was worried the never ending winter would crush the life out of them.  But the two that are supposed to be flowering…are flowering!  Maybe we’ll get a few cherries and peaches this year! 

We found out these are called checkered lilies.  Hopefully my sister-in-law with her mad photography skills can take pictures of them some year because they are off the hook awesome.  And checkered.  Really.  Weirdest flower I’ve ever seen. 

Yes, Z wears this hat in public when it rains.  Seriously. 

Sadly, T has figured out how to get the bib off.  The good thing is he looks hilarious while he’s doing it. 

And this is what T looks like when he is in the middle of saying, “I pooped!”